BRONX, N.Y. — During their three-game series with the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees and Yankee fans had a blast at the expense of their hated nemesis. The atmosphere was fun and fierce. The fans and players felt a charge and there was a sense of purpose to this series. While the end was disappointing, the Yankees were able to take the series and move their record above .500 on the early campaign.
This was too sweet. The Yankees. The crowd. They had the Astros shook. New York notched timely hits and played sharp defense with double plays and pitchouts and one second baseman robbing another certain second baseman of a hit. All of the elements added up to a 7-3 Yankee victory.
There was a ton of booing and chants and expletives strewn about, along with signs and inflatable trash cans. Right from the start it was about as loud as 10,000 or so fans could get and really, if we’re being honest, those are the people leading the charge even if there’s 50,000 in the joint.
A Clint Frazier double-play ball with the bases loaded made it 3-1. They really could’ve busted it open but it was a solid start.
ON THE EDGE OF TROUBLE
Perhaps the biggest miss of the off-season for the Yankees, Michael Brantley cut the New York lead to 3-2 with a solo swat to right, during the fourth frame. Following a one-out Yordan Alvarez single, Yuli Gurriel knocked a game-tying double off the top of the wall in left.
The Yankees exacted some revenge in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and Bryan Abreu on for Brandon Bielak and two outs, LeMahieu reached on a soft single to third, and rather than eating the ball, Bregman errantly threw the ball past first base, enabling three runs to score and LeMahieu to advance to second base. Rougned Odor and Martin Maldonado both wound up injured in a home-plate collision on the third run.
Taking prior two contests, with Gerrit Cole on the bump, this should’ve been money in the bank for the sweep. Unfortunately, a rare late slip-up enabled the Astros to creep back for a 7-3 victory on Altuve’s twelfth birthday. That’s baseball.
G FOR THE MONEY
Stanton was back at it during the third inning against Lance McCullers Jr. The Yankee DH posted the squad to a 1-0 edge with a rocket off the BOFA sign above the bullpen in right-center.
Should Cole have been left in longer at 97 pitches after seven innings and two Alvarez homers as his blips on the afternoon? Probably. Perhaps if he hadn’t gotten squeezed, he may have had more left in his arsenal.
In any event, it was a rarity blow-up for the first time on the young season basically by the heart of the bullpen. Chad Green yielded a three-run homer to left to Altuve in the eighth inning.
Justin Wilson, who seems somewhat redundant at this point on this team, didn’t fare much better, allowing a two-run homer to left by Maldonado in the ninth inning.
HEADS UP GLEYBER
One wild play from this game came at the bottom of the eighth. With Torres on first and the shift on Hicks, the Yankee shortstop came all the way around to score with nobody covering on an infield hit. Funny stuff and solid base running by Torres.